All landlords should be prepared for the periods of time when one of their properties is empty.
This may occur at the natural end of a tenancy or when a renter leaves unexpectedly, meaning that the landlord only has the notice period to find a new tenant.
During a period that the property is empty there are tasks which a landlord might like to consider: saving costs, getting refurbishing work done and checking the itinerary are key issues to be addressed.
Top of the list should be avoidable expenditure. Any vacant property may eligible for a council tax reduction. It is now up to local councils to decide whether to offer reductions on the levy or indeed not impose council tax whilst the property is empty. Check with your local authority. Increased taxation may apply if the property is vacant for two years or more.
Remember, as soon as the tenant vacates, responsibility lies with the landlord.
An empty property also offers the opportunity to get up to date with your own records. Carrying out an inventory would be a good plan. Increasingly, landlords are taking advantage of property inventory software such as that found at inventorybase.co.uk.
Carrying out this task will ensure that you are able to address any repairs on the property which are needed. If your property regularly changes tenants each year, then you will be familiar with the issues which need to be tackled to keep your property attractive to new renters.
During this period also ensure that the utility providers have the correct payee registered. Whilst the property is empty that will be the owner of the property. By taking the appropriate readings on the day the existing tenant leaves, you will be able to ensure that you are not making extra payments. When the new tenant moves in, take readings again and transfer the responsibility.
Whilst checking supplies, also ensure that appliances which do not need to be connected are switched off. Note that fridges, freezers and washing machine doors should be left open to avoid odours and stains on appliances.
By removing fuses you will also reduce risks and cut supply use, particularly to LED fittings.
Finally, check heater timers, but remember that in the winter months you may need them.